We’ve seen the press about the youngster in JFK Tower, at work with his Dad, who spoke to a few airplanes.
Those “in the know” will respond a lot like the pilots on the tape – recognizing it for what it is, knowing there’s no safety degradation. It’s an infrequent occurance but it’s not an unknown thing.
I don’t know the Kennedy controller. I bet he’s a good controller and a good Dad. A lot of people have done what he’s getting in trouble for. The boy wasn’t controlling traffic, he talked to pilots; there’s a difference.
What does impress me is the way people talk about the ATC presence in response to this “news” – they’re reacting to KidGate by talking about how ATC is a crucial, unforgiving, tremendously important function that should never be degraded, even for a moment. They say, “it’s air traffic control, for G-d’s sake – what are they thinking?”
Let’s follow up on that. If it is so important (and it is), if it is so sensitive, then why aren’t people scandalized and upset over the real degradation of ATC?
- splitting facilities for budgetary reasons
- remoting approach controls without operational justification
- contracting out control towers to for-profit corporations that don’t observe Fed standards in staffing, QA, or facility management
- replacing the split/contract towers with offsite virtual “drone” towers
- dismantling the world’s best ATC system to feed industry greed
Public outcry about how important ATC is? Great.
But those youngsters at Kennedy aren’t the risk.